Marine Conservation Cambodia has teamed up with The Marine Mammals Research Association to create ‘The Cambodian Dolphin Project’ which will commence in September 2017. Our two non-profit NGOs will work together to protect cetacean species in Cambodia’s Kep Archipelago, namely the Irrawaddy dolphin, Indo-Pacific humpbacked dolphin and Indo-Pacific finless porpoise. These three species have declining populations and are currently classified as ‘Vulnerable’ or ‘Near threateded’ by the IUCN. Due to their coastal distibution, they face serious anthropogenic threats including bycatch, habitat degredation (illeage bottom trawling) and direct catch for aquaria.
The project aims to combine natural and social science methods to implement the first year round cetacean study in the target habitat, to form the first step in effective cetacean conservation, and thus to support conservation of the marine ecosystem as a whole.
It is imperative to collect data in these fields if the species are to continue to play their their role within a balanced, healthy and productive ecostsem.
Data will be collected on cetacean distribution, abundance and residency patterns in order to delineate critical habitats (feeding, breeding and resting grounds). Additionally, a community education programme will be initiated to raise local cetacean awareness and educate locals in cetacean survey techniques.